Diversified miner Glencore says the suggestion that it had involved President Cyril Ramaphosa, who used to be the chairperson of the Optimum coal mine, in the acquisition of Optimum Coal Holdings (OCH) with a view to, or with the expectation of leveraging his influence to achieve amendments to OCH's coal supply agreement (CSA) with power utility Eskom is "false and baseless".
This is in response to allegations made by former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe at the Zondo Commission on March 2. According to News24.com, Molefe claimed that Glencore had used its relationship with Ramaphosa to try to extort money from Eskom when the parties were renegotiating the CSA.
OCH and Eskom were unable to come to an agreement about the price of coal being supplied to Eskom under the CSA, prompting Glencore to put the Optimum mine on care and maintenance, citing financial difficulties.
The mine was, soon after, sold to Tegeta Resources, for which Eskom supplied a controversial prepayment.
Glencore says it rejects the allegations made by Molefe.
"Mr Ramaphosa divested his entire interest in OCH on May 22, 2014, prior to him taking office as the Deputy President and prior to his involvement with the Eskom War Room.
"Mr Ramaphosa therefore had no interest in OCH following the conclusion of the cooperation agreement and during the period when the Optimum coal mine was negotiating with Eskom regarding potential amendments to the CSA and an extension to the CSA," Glencore notes in a statement.